How Does Cannabis Affect your Dental Health?
To the delight of many, more and more states are legalizing recreational cannabis. As these new laws pass, it also opens the doors for even more people to partake in its usage.
Cannabis is widely used for its psychoactive effects. You may know about cannabis as being used for recreational reasons, but it is also used for medicinal purposes to treat pain and anxiety. In addition to this, did you also know that it has a negative link to your dental health?
Many people do not consider the dental effects cannabis byproduct can create. There are some interesting and useful observations to keep in mind the next time you take a puff. We will be discussing how cannabis affects your oral health, as well as the more dental-friendly ways to partake in cannabis usage.
Marijuana Versus Oral Health
One of the most common ways people use cannabis is smoking. Dried tobacco leaves are rolled up and smoked as a “blunt” which is identical to a tobacco cigar. Because this method of intake allows for tobacco usage in the wrapper, many of the same health consequences apply.
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For starters, smoking marijuana decreases the flow of saliva produced in your mouth. This is why smokers can experience “cotton mouth”. The official name for this is xerostomia and it affects the salivary glands by reducing the usual amount of saliva that is created. A consistently dry mouth allows for bacteria to stick to teeth, which leads to a higher chance of plaque and tooth decay.
The best defense against xerostomia is drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated. The keyword here is water. Soda and energy drinks will only put you back to square one, or worse with low levels of Ph balance.
It is highly common for marijuana users to feel hungry after smoking. This is because the drug affects the appetite hormone called leptin.
What do people reach for when they feel the “munchies”? Cheesy tortilla chips, pizza rolls, and candy. It is no secret that constant consumption of these foods is not doing any favors for your dental health either.
Heavy smoking can also lead to gum disease if proper oral care is not practiced. Users can also develop canker sores and tooth decay. In addition to this, users may experience edema, a form of swelling of the gums caused by blood vessels leaking into the tissue.
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You Should Be Open with Your Dentist About Marijuana Consumption.
Your dentist is not out to judge you, they’re there to help and they’ve heard it all before! Providing accurate information on things that can affect your oral health will enable your dentist to provide constructive advice. Their goal is to ensure that you are happy, and your smile is healthy. Talking with your dentist about marijuana use will enable them to give you tips on how you can prevent the harmful effects that smoking can cause.
Alternatives to Smoking Cannabis
You can still get the effects of cannabis without smoking. You may not have to give up smoking completely with responsible dental care. Having other means of consumption will give your mouth and lungs a break.
Consider using edibles. These are cannabis infused food options. The benefit with edibles is that you can still get the affects you desire, while limiting the harmful effects smoking can cause on your oral health. That means you jump past all the negative effects smoking can brings, and as an added bonus, you may be less inclined to binge eat, since you are already eating. Although eating a pot brownie isn’t the most dental-friendly food in the world, it isn’t as extreme on your dental health as smoking.
If you would prefer not to eat to feel the buzz. Vaping is a better option, although the chemicals in vape smoke can still be harmful to your oral health with heavy usage, it is overall cleaner and when weighing the lesser of two evils, vaping is going to be the better option. In general, frequent users might want to opt for edibles instead. Another alternative is going the CBD route if your consumption purpose is for medicinal benefits.
In the End
There are many positive medicinal benefits of cannabis use, and as more states continue to legalize the substance, it is important to know how to take care of yourself while consuming. With responsible usage and proper dental care, you almost certainly will have a healthy, positive relationship with your cannabis consumption.